Oil and Gas Lease Utilization – Onshore and Offshore: Report to the President

US.. Department of the Interior

[Executive Summary] On March 11, 2011, President Obama asked the Department of the Interior (Department) to determine the acreage of public lands (onshore and offshore) that have been leased to oil and gas companies and remain undeveloped, noting that companies should be encouraged to produce energy from leases that they are holding.

In response to this request, the Department’s Office of Policy Analysis (PPA) collected data on oil and gas leasing and production for Federal onshore and offshore areas from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).

The information provided in this report indicates that the Department offered substantial acreage for potential oil and gas development in 2009 and 2010 that was not subsequently leased by bidding parties. In addition, for areas that are under lease, there are tens of millions of acres currently idle – that is, not undergoing exploration, development, or production.

The Department is currently evaluating policy options to provide companies with additional incentives for the more rapid development of oil and gas production from existing and future leases. [H/T E&E News PM]


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